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Dish Of The Month: The Tastiest Veg ‘Shepherd’s’ Pie

Published on: 15 Jun, 2018
Updated on: 13 Jun, 2018

by Hugh Coakley

Based on a recipe on the fantastic BBC Good Food website, this is a really simple vegetarian dish which I think is as tasty as the standard British classic meat version.

Lord Reith’s lofty aim for the BBC was to ‘educate, inform and entertain’. The BBC Good Food website hits those aims right between the eyes with an amazing range of simple and seriously delicious recipes. It’s worth the licence fee for this service alone. Long live the BBC!

The ‘shepherd’ bit of the vegetarian shepherd’s pie without the potato topping. It is as savoury as it looks.

The recipe calls for a sweet potato topping but I find it too sweet for this dish. Ordinary mash is better I think but it is all down to personal taste.

It costs about £5 for the ingredients and feeds eight people. Not bad at just over 60p per person.

One large onion, diced

500g carrots, diced finely

2 tbsp dried thyme

200ml of red wine or beer plus 150ml of water

One tin (400g) of chopped tomatoes

One tin (400g) of green lentils

Two veg stock cubes

1 kg potatoes (or sweet potatoes if that is your preference)

Butter and milk for the mash

200g grated cheddar

25ml of rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper and a good measure (at least a tbsp) of Worcestershire sauce to taste

Fry the onion in the oil until nice and caramelised.

Add the carrots, thyme, wine, tomatoes and stock cubes plus 150ml of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the lentils including the juice and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce to taste.

In parallel, make the mash. A tip to judge how many potatoes you will need is to use as many potatoes as will cover the bottom of the casserole dish less one potato. It sounds odd but it works.

Boil the potatoes until soft. Add in butter and milk and mash away. It doesn’t have to be perfect or entirely lump free because it is going to be further cooked in the oven but it should be fairly smooth.

Cover over the filling, sprinkle on the grated cheese and bake at 220 degrees C for about half an hour. I love the ‘burnt bits’ so I tend to leave it in the oven for a bit longer.

Topped with mashed potato and grated cheddar cheese, a homely and welcoming meal.

It is also lovely reheated the next day, microwave or the oven will do.

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Responses to Dish Of The Month: The Tastiest Veg ‘Shepherd’s’ Pie

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    June 15, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Regrettably this is not entirely vegetarian if the Worcester Sauce includes anchovies (so better described as pescatarian?).

    Still, good to see vegetarian dishes appearing on the menu so thank you for that.

    I suggest preparing the mash from potatoes cooked in their jackets (in foil) in a conventional oven for added flavour (1hr 50mins at 180 seems to work well but it does depend on the size of the potatoes).

    A simpler recipe (cooking can seem over complex to me) would be to replace all the non-potato ingredients with a tin of baked beans (shake tin vigorously before carefully removing the lid) held down by a slice of bread with the mash on top but I guess that would never make its way onto a TV programme !

    Hugh Coakley replies: Harry, of course you are absolutely right. Don’t blame the BBC because the non-vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce (with its anchovies) is not in their recipe but my ham fisted (or possibly fish fingered) addition. It’s lovely without the Worcestershire Sauce but I think I will still put it in.

  2. John Lomas Reply

    June 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    But why “shepherds’ pie” if there is no lamb or mutton in it?

    At least “cottage pie” doesn’t reference what us carnivores eat, although of course it usually does contain beef.

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